Category Archives: Contemporary Poets

Amrit Gangar

5th vol  No 1 (July 2018)

‘KANHAIYA’ BACK IN KOLKATA: 1953-2017

Kanhaiya has returned to you Kolkata, now 74
his father’s rickshaw was broken with his leg
your sky in his eyes had gone unconscious
his scream you had refused to hear then!

Shambhu Mahato is no more, nor Parvati
Kanhaiya has returned to you Kolkata, now 74
he has repaired his father’s rickshaw
nobody there to sing ‘ajab tori duniya ho mere raja’!

Where has everybody gone? Why are slums so silent?
where is the kind Thakurain? And the little girl?
Kanhaiya has returned to you Kolkata, now 74
to find these souls in slums, and Lalu Ustad!

Old Dhangu Mahato killed himself under a wheel
Harnam Singh’s son has 2 + 200 bigha zamin now
and a factory, and a school to his name, a temple too
Kanhaiya has returned to you Kolkata, now 74!

 

Note: He is the same Kanhaiya of Bimal Roy’s film Do Bigha Zamin (1953) who returns to Kolkata to eke out living by pulling rickshaw. I assume he was 10-year-old in the film, and hence he would be 74 in 2017 when he has returned to Kolkata, completely tired of life, both his parents, Shambhu and Parvati, and grandfather Dhangu Mahato have expired; and to his misfortune, his wife too. Old Kanhaiya is back to Kolkata, which is no longer Calcutta.

 

MUKHTAR ALI: WHEEL, VAJAN AND VARICOSE VEINS
“Sahab, mere liye to aap baitho,
aap ki peti baithe ya aapka kutta,
sab ek hai,” in his philosophy of life
septuagenarian Mukhtar Ali was more clear
than i was, he walked on earth, slept on earth
For him ‘vajan’ was the ‘wajood’ all the rest was ‘fazool’
sheer middle-class Marxian mumbo jumbo
i know sahab, looking at my legs and veins
you will write poems and make some money too
“naam bhi kamaoge…”
Mukhtar Ali ferried me every day from
home to office, office to home
i was convinced by his ‘vajan dalil’ (weight argument)
weight is a weight is a weight
and he would charge by weight
Man or machine or maachh or mishti doi or mythology
mattered little to him but vajan brought him a roti
moti mahila will be charged more chhoti less
middle class was chagrined by his humanistic rule
even while going to their gods
One evening a body was found in a Kolkata lane
Mukhtar Ali was no more, his varicose veins
weighed no pain, no vajan, no wajood
only a slogan remained on my city’s wall baaki –
sab fazool! sab fazool! sab fazool!
Amrit Gangar, 18 June 2017

 

A RICKSHAW-PULLER AT BELGACHHIA

As sun scorches your skin at this insane
Kolkata junction, Belgachhia
a chugging tram takes care of him
nor the honking limousine
it would have crushed him, brutally
a bunch of bones
skin showing the whiteness
inside no haemoglobin
he has spent up all his deposits of
erythrocytes, the red blood cells

On this insane junction of Kolkata
many skeletons move, many bunches of bones
jinns are scared of them, ghosts keep away
they carry loads and men and women
pulling them to their destinations
selves getting closer to graves, much closer
wanting no do gaz zamin nor two logs of wood
sticks of bones will burn like incense
skin already burnt awaiting a pinch of ash
wind will fly it not to mountains nor rivers

Wind will fly it to you, your guilt and city’s
where politics has sucked away his ecrythrocytes
to paint flags red, where slogans have turned
him into a skeleton carrying heaps of hopes
useless deceptions he was feeding his children with
as dollops and dahi Marx always chuckled at
the city has robbed this skeleton of his dreams
death he is told not be afraid of, bones have marrow
marrow is your power, comrade, marrow is your tenor
your hips and thighs still run and pull, pull, pull

On this insane junction of Kolkata…
skeletons only look at the sky and the burning sun…

Amrit, Kolkata, 20 May 2017

 

 

Amrit Gangar is a Mumbai-based writer, film theorist, curator and historian. During his college days he used to write poems off and on both in English (as also Gujarati) and several of them were published in journals including Kavi India, Mirror, Youth Times, Calcutta Canvas, Bharat Jyoti, an anthology of poems on Emergency, etc. Of late, he has again picked up his poetic thread. He has authored a number of books on cinema both in English and Gujarati languages. His recent book Cinema Vimarsh has won the Gujarat Sahitya Akademi award. For the past decade or so he has been engaged with developing and expanding his concept of Cinema Prayoga, which he has presented so far across many venues in the world and India, including Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan.

Anwer Ghani

Whitish

The White Field
My mother said that the wheat fields are white and beautiful but I see their birds; they are black. Yes, the wheat spikes have come from the Far East in a white night and had seeded all this glory but when I go to our field I did not find white butterflies and all our white colors have traveled toward the gulf. Now you can understand my lost white feelings and you can see all the black colors which cover my smiles.

White Things
They said: we know everything even the white roses. Yes; your rights are reserved but we know the places, the white words, and more hidden white things. We work hard to save our white world, so we know everything even the black side in you. ​We are in the era of privacy and these satellites and internet are just for taking beautiful white pictures. We are in the time of love in white nights. Where is that whiteness? And where is that love? You don’t see anything but redness and you find nothing but antecedent condemnation.

A White Land
The icy lands color my life with a white world, but what you see in my depth is killing blackness. May be the white clothes had been run out. Please don’t steal my dream, and don’t cover my life with illusionary roar. Yes, my foot is cold, hand is so short, and you have a nice whitish tongue but the water in my glass is not warm and not white. Here, in my eyes is a white tree, but here, in my heart is a stolen white land.

 

Anwer Ghani is an Iraqi poet and artist. He was born in 1973 in Hilla. His name has appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies and he have won many prizes; one of them “World Laureate-Best Poet in 2017 from WNWU”. Anwer writes; expressive narrative poetry, and he is the author of “Narratopoet”; (2017), “Antipoetic Poems”; (2017) and other 40 books. He is the editor-in-chief of Arcs prose poetry magazine. Websites: https://anwerghani1.wordpress.com.

Suman Pokhrel

Along the Bank of Word
by Abhi Subedi

At night, how much tears
did flow
I knew not;
after hearing the swish of morning’s river,
I, hurriedly, ran along the bank of word
to pick my flowing soul.

(Translated from Nepali by Suman Pokhrel)

Sky, Wrenched and Stretched to Dry
-by Abhi Subedi

On falling a showering wail onto
my ears
from sky,
I rushed to find;
earth, by entwining her attire
into the wheels of my motorcycle,
got herself almost unclad, and
sat plumped like water.
akin to wet laundry, I got hanged stretched
with love, and
I became an ethereal sky, wrenched
and stretched to dry.

(Translated from Nepali by Suman Pokhrel)

News
by Dinesh Adhikari

Yesterday, as well as
the day before yesterday
and further earlier that day
and today also, news of
killing of too many innocent people
is published in newspapers.

I am reading the news-
four corpses of Nepalese workers are arrived
from Arab in a single day, yesterday;
a dead body of an unidentified girl, raped and
killed, is found on bank of a river;
following an announcement of election
a youth, converted into pamphlet of
his master, for the sake of his hunger, is killed
while fluttering in procession, carrying
his own face, in a clash with opposition;
while deploying government mechanism,
on demand of a land-mafia to evacuate the land,
after getting the whole settlement registered
to its ownership, a mass of people
gathered for resistance, has been killed at spot
from bullets of police;
all passengers in a bus have been killed
by collapsing a bridge, while the bus was
crossing the bridge, that was recently handed over , and
the construction contract of which was given
to a brother in-law of a minister;
by taking date expired medicine
distributed by a government hospital
two pregnant women has been died in a village.

And, I am in hope that-
the masks of those,
who took them into the poisonous tunnel,
of those, who made them their life jackets for self protection,
of those, who hunted them for sake of entertainment,
of those, who, made them porter of their illicit actions by
hiding their identity of being master;
be removed at main streets, like peeling out of
ripen banana, and, let their breath get floundering
in front of a huge mass of people.

Can somebody tell me,
when would a news of their assassination
be published in newspapers?

(Translated form Nepali by Suman Pokhrel)

Rain in Jungle
By Dinesh Adhikari

It’s raining pitter-patter
in jungle, and
together with every droplet of rain
an enlivening aroma is spreading
from the soil thirsty for long

Trees are swaying, on
getting exhilarated from that fragrance,
leaves are turned into moans,
the jungle is boasting a symphony of passion.

At present, the jungle has forgotten
the dreary yearning of past,
it has forgotten the fire
that engulfed on its chest
and has forgotten the hot wind that
blew akin to whistle of despair.

One can say-
the jungle seems carefree; of
whether the Sun stare at it,
seems ignorant of, if the moon sees it or
the darkness kept gazing.

Perhaps at this moment, the jungle
wants to forget every detail around it;
by avoiding scrutiny of time, the jungle
at this instant, perhaps wants to
get drenched in every pleasure of subsistence.

Pitter-patter parade of water,
with whew-whew whistling of leaves and
whiffing fragrance of soil, amid
crackling footsteps of wind.

Oh ! how pleasurable is it, to
listen to this song of rainfall.

This reminds me of
whispering to my beloved in our youth.

I like rain in jungle
so eminently.

(Translated form Nepali by Suman Pokhrel)

 

Abhi Subedi was born in eastern Nepal and educated in Nepal and Britain. He is a professor of English at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, and an established writer who has published works in both Nepali and English, including plays, essays, poems and literary criticism and history. He has also translated works from English into Nepali, and from Nepali into English. He writes regular columns in Nepal’s Nepali and English-language media and is very closely associated with language pedagogy, especially the teaching and syllabus writing of English in Nepal. Besides English, Subedi has taught Nepali to expatriates in Nepal at different times: these have included tourists, ambassadors, and priests. Abhi Subedi’s many published works include Bruised Evenings (play, 2009), Nibandha ra Tundikhel(essays, 2008), Nepali Theatre as I See It (2007), Panch Natak (five plays, 2004), Dreams of Peach Blossoms (play, 2001), Poems of the Century(edited, 2000), Ekai Kawaguchi: the Trespassing Insider (1999), Shabda ra Chot (poems, 1997), Chasing Dreams: Kathmandu Odyssey, (poetic play, 1996), Sirjana ra Mulyankan (literary criticism, 1982), and Nepali Literature: Background and History (1978).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abhi_Subedi

Dinesh Adhikari

Renowned lyricist Dinesh Adhikari is a brilliant poet, capable of framing in poetic frames timeless ripples of the experiences woven in the songs of life with rhythm and vibration. He enjoys simple, symbolic presentation, temporal awareness, and serious revelation of contents in simple expressive style.
Away from the assumptions of any movement or doctrine, the poems of Adhikari, written in celebration of being humans, exhibit simplicity and beauty, and appeal more to heart than to intellect. They decently keep echoing in the heart of the readers. This is his poetic perfection

Suman Pokhrel

Suman Pokhrel, an eminent Nepali poet, lyricist, playwright, translator and artist; is widely reckoned as one of the most creative contemporary voices. He lives in Biratnagar, a city nestled in the foothills of Himalayas. He writes in Nepali, English, Hindi and Urdu. He has three collections of poems. Beside English, his poems are translated into Sanskrit, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, and Oria; and are published in various literary journals, anthologies and webzines globally. Pokhrel has translated poems of several poets from around the world into Nepali; and has translated various Nepali language poets’ works into English, Hindi and Urdu. Recently, he wrote a solo play ‘Yajnaseni’, based on ‘Draupadi’, one of the lead characters from the famous Sanskrit epic Mahabharata. The play was premiered in Irvin Art Center, Dallas, Texas in USA and was late performed India.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suman_Pokhrel

indira babbellapati

An anarchic soliloquy

Thick greasy liquid in filter paper

Neither flows nor stays stable—

A dream; a simoom in a summer-desert—

The dream goes digging deeper and deeper

Yet the origins of corruption found in vain!

As the dream enters the depth of downwards

Into the earth’s womb, all we hear there are

The screams of the wooden hammer:

‘Silence…silence!’ Yes, that’s the supreme

Court of law; along the screams are

The sound of explosions from the whistle-blowers.

Leave aside the first citizen, does anyone ever

Attempted to explore who the inessential citizen might be?

Ah, who’s that coolie woman in that joparpatti in Mumbai?

She sits in muck surrounded by filth and washes herself

With red cake of Lifebuoy! Her surroundings are filled

With acerbic red smell. Red blood…crimson love and

Blood-red death–ah, this creepy dream the night through—

Not a thread of clothing on the body, streaking across

The nightly streets of the city. Isn’t there beauty in nudity?

Nude are the markets too! Wonder if at all what we see

Gets denuded or nudity dominates our vision? Further,

The Court area echoes with morphed voices of the witnesses;

Only ceramic lips and acrylic hips! The blazing sun is proved

As mere graphic after much argument! Is last night’s pleasure

Of copulation  mere illusion? Will the currents that bang their

Heads against the reservoir’s retaining wall ever get liberated?

Hey, you’re a useless dreamer—loitering the lifeless midnight

Roads of the city listening to the scenes around and gazing at the sounds

Amid the pahara hushaar of vigorous batons in the deepest slumber.

Tears of blood stream down the walls of the parliament; stretching

Your hands in greed you ask—‘What’s the distance between liberty

And lewdness?’ Time and distance—theory of indices; all a dilemma!

Crime and punishment are two different entities though the Constitution

May state loud and clear that,

All culprits will be punished!

Halleluiah! Halleluiah!

The sinners will be pardoned!

The sinners will be rescued!

A plant attacked by pests needs pesticide however toxic, pungent

And nauseous Monocrotopas might be. Similar is the need of

This generation; fire-treatment is its dire need…suyy…suyy, the fire

May burn the skin. The billions of the country’s population devoid of

Values, ethical discipline, moral behavior, responsibilities of being

A citizen, populace deprived of a history are in an emergency—

They need an urgent medical aid; where’s the right medicine?

All that this generation needs is a hot iron rod to strike them on their back!

 (Original in Telugu by Prof. Raamaa Chandramouli; English translation by Indira Babbellapati)

 

 

New leaf of nascent green

At that moment while sitting on the shore,

She thought moon light with the full moon

Is as attractive as the new moon sky…

It’s always like that when one is in the grip

Of depression and low with melancholy—

That darkness is eternal while light remains

An occasional visitor; when in darkness

The waves annihilate the shoreline, the surf

And sparkles remain unseen—only the rhythmic

Roar that disperses the waters can be heard.

Doesn’t the screech of a train on the verge of

Derailment in spite of the flow of the wheels’ sound

A scare in us? Man trapped like a dry leaf in a mysterious

Maelstrom of one’s inner world, while violently swiveling

Feels the defenselessness of the situation as he gets pulled into…

The unknown within sets the human matter on fire to

Generate energy that goes on preaching, ‘No blunder even if the right

Becomes left and vice versa, go on…swim against the tide…’

Exhausted body, heart and soul slide down the glass pane of

A window, there’s this struggle and effort of the metamorphosis

Of pupa into a butterfly. We fall and rise staring at the bleeding knees;

A burning sensation in the heart…twining soreness as when ice is

Put on fire; if a bomb wishes to spread destruction, it first has to

Destroy itself! Similarly, one who wishes to create, has to first

Create himself…when conscious triggers within, at that

Very moment, one needs a smile, a greeting, a hand extended,

Above all an intoxicating touch. Melody from a flute from

A remote somewhere, while getting doused by the perfume

While walking under the ponnaga on a moonlit night—contemplating

And understanding the difference between a dog’s loyalty,

And that of a wolf that strategically erases its own footprints

With the tail as it moves ahead, there stirs the awareness of tears

That has no identity gaining impetus in the human body;

What follows again is a new vision, a new form and a new leaf

In tender green life surfaces; despair, depression and melancholia

Become confetti; same old sapling that appears tearing the earth

Resurrects the breath…For anyone.

(Original in Telugu by Prof. Raamaa Chandramouli; English translation by Indira Babbellapati)

Prof. B. Indira works as faculty in the department of Humanities and Social Sciences of Andhra University, Visakhapatnam. She’s a widely published poet and translator. She has seven anthologies of original poetry in English and three anthologies of poetry in translation besides several short stories and a novel translated and published by the Sahitya Akademi and the Translation Bureau of Dravidian University, Kuppam. Writing of poetry and translating from Telugu to English is a passion with her. She has participated in many International and National Poets meets in India and abroad where she presented her original poetry well received by poetry lovers.

E-mail : drbindira@gmail.com

 

Prof. Raamaa Chandra mouli born on 08-07-1950 is basically a post graduate in mechanical engineering, residing at Warangal and presently working as vice principal, Ganapathy Engineering college, Warangal, A.P, India. He is an eminent poet, short story writer, Novelist and literary critic. To his credit he has 50 published books which includes 305 short stories, 30 novels, 10 anthologies of telugu poetry and 4 anthologies of telugu literary essays. He has participated as Indian delegate in ‘22nd’ world congress of poets, Greece during july 2011.’world congress of poets’ during march 2016 at Taiwan. Most prestigious awards he secured includes ‘Swarna Nandi’ puraskaram from Govt of A.P (2011),Andhra pradesh sahitya academy award 1984, Telugu university kavitha purskaram(2007), Cinare kavitha puraskaram(2008), Kolakaloori Bhaageeradhi kavitha puraskaram(2012), Dr.Avansta Somasunder Kavitha Puraskaram(2012), Citizen extraordinaire leadership award (2007-08) (by united writers association, Chennai) etc.. He has also won the best engineering teacher award-2000 from Govt. of A.P. He authored 6 prestigious text books for mechanical engineering students. He has penned story and dialogues to 5 telugu movies. Several of his works are translated into English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Bengali.  

 

           

Chandramohan Sathyanathan

 

The Earth
The earth
Adorns herself alternately
In thick foliage of green and
The capricious ebb and flow of the blue,

Each ray of the sun
chisels  her a garment for her curves of
Mountains and gorges
Like a layer of dense air.

I start unwrapping this onion- like layers of drapery.
They are plaits of soiled bed-sheets
Branching out from her midriff like
rivulets of a river.

I discover cavities
With girths like
Hips of Venus
Or chest of mars.

She hides herself
In different layers of fabric
Through its mantles
Like a poem drifting along
A rainbow -like shard of an arc.

Scrolls of scriptural injunctions
Ooze from her orifices with the hiss of uncoiling snakes.

Certain inner layers are like
Holy books,
Light once entrapped
Never escapes: illuminated for eternity!

The heat from the earth’s core
Drives the machinery of
My muse.

 

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A BLACK BURKINI
(after Wallace Stevens )
“I created the burkini to give women freedom, not to take it away “-Aheda Zanetti

1
Burkini is a language
Terrifying those ignorant of its text.
2
Cops patrol her tan lines
Like dams patrol
Rivers flowing above danger marks.
3
All you need is in that bag:
Change into a garment
More palatable for the cops in uniform.
4
Some garments cling too close to your surname
Like a metaphor
Too loud for good poetry.
5.
Sea surfing can be tiring
Like an infinite ebb and flow of a questionnaire.
Batting an eye lid can be a tad too immodest.
6
Tether yourself close to the beach.
Do not surf too deep into the ocean.
Never self-intersect in circles of knots and tangles.
7
Bruises sustained from frisking
Metamorphose into festering wounds.
Gangrene could gnaw at your surname.
8
Erase your footprints from the sands.
Waves of time rarely wash the footprints of a scuffle.
Prolonged scuffle can bury us all in a deep hole.
9
Do you remember the first corpse
The sea sucked off a turbulent beach?
The sea spat it out after three days of frisking.
10
The footprints of scuffle
Implicates you from shore to shore,
Blowing up all bridges between you and anyone.
11
During this conversation
Some territory has been ceded across
The tan lines of your body.
12
Your body stripped of the garment
Remains an evacuated language.
Can a language be a scarecrow?
13
History will catch up with you
In your rear-view mirror
Even if you are full throttle in your
Pursuit of happiness.

 

My language

The language we speak now,
Once had no fences;
Aggravated trespassing
Has rendered it barren.

At the frontiers of my language
Deployed with an insidious intent
Is a domesticated erstwhile stray-dog
With its bark worse than its bite;
But carefully tethered to harm no one.

If you frequent my tongue
The rust on your tongue-cleaner
Can cause tetanus to your soul.

Introducing an alien tongue in elementary schools
Is like building dams on rivers
Too close to their origins.
The river will be sedated for eternity.

Bitter neem  paste
Smeared around my
Birth-mother’s nipples
To wean me away from my vernacular-
For me to go and kiss the world.

Our minds like bedding with synthetic bed spread
Love betraying us like
My muse calling out the name of her ex-lover in ecstasy.

It requires an inter-generational
Surgical procedure
To remove white man’s bullets
From the spine of my book of poems.

In the autobiography of my vernacular
There were a few suicide notes
Transliterated with an indelible ink
Like the legacy of slave owners
Passed on to the hardbound of my poetry book
-once a stepping pedestal for imperial boots.

My language
Was a tax-free transit point
At one of the world’s shores
Like the Cape of Good Hope.

Now, history of mankind
Snores in my language.

The Muse in the Market place

In the Neo-liberal world
A dog with a collar crosses
The road at the zebra lines.

The vernacular was never its surrogate womb
This poem was not conceived with translation in mind
Will never let itself be adopted
Or exported to worldwide markets
Nor will the metaphors mellow down
To make it amenable to translation
Into an alien tongue.

This poem refuses to undergo painful procedures
Like the long intrusive questionnaire
Cleansing its tracts
Before it is granted a visa
To be read at international festivals.

To be frisked
Through its taut contours
Of line breaks and paragraphs
At airports and check points
With every image bent like a question mark
In ludicrous submission.

Portrait of the poet as a young woman
Her hair
Freshly harvested dreadlocks
Unedited gospel of love
Off limits to combs.

Tresses like streams
Of eternal fire
From the arsenal of her body.

Poems conceived in a celestial tongue
When stars align with caesarean precision.
It is our own language.

Her verses
Are neither left nor right aligned
Time zones hinge at every line break
Like sunflowers UN-aligned to the scorching heat.

Every evening, on her terrace ,
she lets  her hair down and flies kite,
Her verses tell vivid stories
Stitched together in myriad colours.

Her verses gurgle like rivers let loose.
She never braids them
With her bare hands
Before a poetry reading.

When her poems are read
No boyfriend or pimp is allowed
Inside the reading hall.

Her kite, un-tethered to her surname,
Soars high, till it gets entangled with the stars.

Attempting to translate her poems
Is like making love to a capricious mistress.

Her curly, kinky stream of verses
Sway to the rhythm of her gait
Untamed by the clanging of her anklets.

Her book of poems,
a treatise on dishevelled hair
and tresses on fire.

 

Killing  the Shambukas
(Inspired by a famous poem on black lynching)
Jim Crow segregated hostel rooms
Ceiling fans bear a strange fruit,
Blood on books and blood on papers,
A black body swinging in mute silence,
Strange fruit hanging from tridents.

8.My psychological lynching
(written after watching Shankar’s “I”)
I was at a movie-hall the other day
the hero hailing from the slums
speaks in an uncouth slang,
his Angle Saxon girlfriend sets him right
with a tight slap!

From then on
The hero sways in sync with his heroine,
a paler version of his former self.
Keep the body ,take the mind.

plus-size poem

This poem refuses to be
The world’s wife.

This poem is not pimple-free
Is printed on rough paper.

This poem has cellulite in its rear end,
Its rump out sizes itself off the market.

This poem walks the ramp with a self-edited gait
Without introduction or foreword from veterans.

This poem does not opt for offshore liposuction
To make oneself eligible for international prizes.

This poem eludes the trap
In the hourglass of time.

 

When cops come to frisk you

1. Batting an eye lid
In the midst of an excruciating questionnaire
Could be a tad too immodest.

2. He could try mock intimidating techniques
Like the cacophony of revving a car
Engine with gear set to neutral.

3. Learn to steady your breath
Like an undercover cop
In a trigger happy gang.

4. You both have each other’s face
To ascertain the time epochs
Each of you is living in- untranslatable in time.

5. He could lop some withered branch
Of your family tree and ask you to
identify the leaves.

6. If he greets you in your rustic dialect,
Return the serve.

7. He may try to ascertain the blood pressure
Of your privilege coursing your veins.

This whole conversation is jarring like a poem translated
Into a language with no word for the missing rib.

UNTITLED 

I
A poem curled up  in a wrinkled
piece of paper- I read it.

Every reading
unfolds new layers
of previously pulped
meaning

between the lines
between the bars of Guantanamo Bay.

II

A word
lost from a poem
asks another for the way
back into the poem.

Both the words
accompany each other
to the poem.

III
When the police come to frisk you
They will first give you a name,
then distance themselves from you!

Grapes of Wrath
(A poem on migrant labourers in Kerala)

The displaced of capital have come to the capital- Anne Winters

Faceless migrant lads
Tread landscapes of tongues
To be greeted with a lisping embrace
At God’s own country.

 

 Caste in a local train
Caste in a local train can be deceptive
like the soul
of a Pakistani fast bowler camouflaged
in a  three piece suit
and Anglicized accent.

Though seated opposite me,
I can feel him charging on to me.

If my surname is too long
I could be –caught behind.

Will I be trapped leg before wicket
If I attempt a bloodline crossover?

I try to camouflage
into stripes of concocted ancestry
along fresh water currents.

Can I switch over to
My mother’s surname
like switching from
active voice to passive voice
in the midst of a harangue?

Hope I do not lose my nerve
at abrasive queries like bouncers.

I try to find myself a place
in his skull
beyond his caste mark, amidst his eyebrows:
like trying to find my way around
an ever changing map!

He tries assessing me with an in swinger first
“What is your full name?”

Then he tries an out swinger that seams a lot
“ and   what is your father’s name?”

By this time, he loses his nerve
And tries on a direct York-er
“What is your caste?”

 

 

UAPA
(A protest poem against UAPA)
It is like a virus, all of us could be tested for it.
When you are being tested for this virus
And if the test turned out to be negative
The cop will plant the evidence from his
Kit,
With your signature coerced on it.

It is contagious,
If your friends protest your
Being injected with this virus,
They too get infected.
The virus attacks after long gestation periods
Of surveillance.

This virus feeds on its excreta.
Those inflicted and quarantined behind bars
Act as deterrents for anyone who might
Want to mess with those in power,
Even long after their release.

This virus takes various sizes and shapes
But always the teal of the flag opposing
The incumbent .
Tomorrow it could be your turn
And silence is not always golden.

 

Chandramohan Sathyanathan is a Dalit poet based in Thiruvananthapuram .

Phina So

I’m floating
Phina So, Cambodia

I’m floating in the Mekong river.
I dare not glance at my decaying body.
I’m floating.
Last night I was drowning and you looked away.
I cried my heart out, but you walked with dismay.
I’m floating on the Cambodian news.
People are feeling sad –
But that could not help me.
I left behind a handicapped child
Who I will always miss his smile.
I left behind his childhood.
With no return.
My drowning body is floating.
Security men without heads and hearts.
Depart without giving their hands.
I was dying and I only see my child’s innocent face.
I could not help but blaming myself for being his mother.
I was a sex worker whose life was beyond cheap and lower.
Oh Mekong river, swallow me.
In fact, I have no interest in living long time ago.
Swallow me, river!
Fishes eat me, do not hesitate!
Please you – fishers – do pretend as if you do not see me.
Let the river swallow my body.
Slowly.
Peacefully.
Calmly.
Oh how I wish to reborn again.
To be a mother with full protection, love, and grace.
For her child for the rest of her life.
And do not share the fate as how I die this life.
To the security men who left me to die,
help yourself find peace so that I could go to paradise.

(Phina So is a researcher, writer, a poet and a member of the Khmer literature collective, Slap Paka, and the head of the Women Writers Committee at PEN Cambodia. She has published an anthology of short stories with a group of authors. She lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with her family.)

 

 

Bhisma Upreti

A Full stop
Sarthak Karki

I stand
without moving
like a thing devoid of life
like a full stop.

A full stop might mean
end of an opportunity or of an idea
a full stop might also mean
a base for dawn of another opportunity or of another idea.

Where and how should one stand
so that it implies an end
so that it indicates a new beginning
so that it means a hiatus during a journey
oh! to stand might mean so many things!

I stand
without moving
like a thing devoid of life
like a full stop.

Translated from Nepali by Sarthak Karki.

 

Bhisma Upreti is an award winning Nepali poet and writer. His 8 books of poetry and 6 books of essays have been published. His works have been translated into English, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Serbian, Slovenian and Tamil and have appeared in various international journals, magazines and anthologies.. He is Joint Secretary of PEN Nepal and also a Coordinator of Writer’s Peace Committee under PEN Nepal.

 

 

Sarthak Karki prefers ‘non-fiction’, in the true sense of the word, i.e. honest scholarly writing that at the very least presents unadulterated facts and a fairly diverse school of thought in a subject even if it subscribes to a single school among them. ‘Literature’ (reading) is a hobby and filler, albeit a savory one. Sarthak is an amateur translator at best. English-Nepali and Nepali-English translation of literary works which he likes is as much a preferred manner of spending some extra time on hand as a partial repayment to the authors of these literary works who have given him much intellectual delight. But of course, Sarthak is mindful of what Nietzsche rightly remarked about translation in general – differences in ‘tempo’ of languages (among other things) makes this endeavor a rather futile enterprise in general! Sarthak was born in the year 1986.

 

Moinak Dutta

Universal 

You talk of cherry orchard
Jazz and your God Father,
And how just being merry
You colored your auburn hair
Turning it more of a flame
Which never ever dies,
You talk of your marriage
With a beautiful autumn sky,
Your wardrobe is filled with
Garments never worn
You carry red shoes
Like berries to your home,
And your window has
A view of a maple tree
From there you claim
You can see me easily,
And I here sit under
A cloudless sky so blue
From here I get the scent
Of thistle and you,
You talk of New Orleans
How there sun rises too
You talk of silvery eyes
with which moon loves you,
And perhaps of that tavern
Where comes the friday night
Filled with renaissance songs
Mary from wall watching you quiet,
I think of temple gongs
How sombre they feel
I think of going with you
To an unknown pleasant hill,
There we would oneday sure
Forgetting all boundaries
Make a garden filled
With oranges and blue berries.

 

 An afternoon saga

how do they feel whence thy hands thou lay?’
She asked me one afternoon , seizing the day
As it was slowly gliding down her nape, her breasts,
There the slanted light was taking a sleepy rest,
As rest on the meadows green flowers taking sun beams,
Taking dew too as they make a descend slow
Her hair found I how on her shoulders did flow
Cascading , rippling thing, brown and tantalising,
Somewhere there had been an absorbing scene
Of a green valley decked by seasonal flowers wild
Somewhere there the heavenly painter drew like a child
With curious strokes of brush , meadows quite lush
And I seeing all that was just about to gush
Forth all that was coming to my throat,
Songs of communion, songs of boat,
And other things, like a portion of the Holy Book
Bible was all in my hands I took,
And she poured wine red red in the glass
Seizing the day , I thought time’s chariot shouldn’t pass
Such an afternoon of winter, young and green
Such wonderous painted calming a scene.

 

 3. Samson and Delilah

At the Valley of Sorek whence
Samson first Delilah saw
He had perhaps that pervading sense
Of love within him growing raw
So he sought love from her
The maiden with wonderous looks
Eyes that could pull him near;
He pledged his heart to her
In lieu she asked what could make
Samson such a valiant warrior
And he , being what he was
Without doubting made the mistake
He told her if could someone his hair
Cut and take those strands away
All of his strength would just disappear;
Hearing this Delilah made a pact
Betraying love that was sacrosanct
She took Samson to the bait
Luring him upon her lap to meet his fate,
And how awful had been that sight
To find Samson losing the fight
Like a child as he dozed off
Upon the lap of his lady love.

 

4. Seagull and the morn
‘My cherub art thou!’
Saying this the Seagull took a flight
Over the sea blue that glittered in morn’s light,
I just looked at her so going away
Through the sea breeze finding her way
Beautiful as she looked white and winged
How she to dreams of unknown lands me sent,
Her soaring to see was itself an act of joy
Seagull bright as she spread her wings! Ahoy!
I yelled at her , clapping hands like a friend,
Seeing her so wonderous , taking turns and bends,
Cutting through the air, with ease, so elegant
O how I wished to go with her to her land,
And the Seagull perhaps knew my heart too
For out of the sky white and so blue
She swooped down fast before me,
(Afterall called me she a cherub, hadn’t she?)
And taking a round around my enchanted state
She flew up, up happy and straight,
Till could I see her no more
Morning whence touched me pure
With her light, her mirth, her beauty so,
O how I stood by the sea, watching The Seagull’s glow.

 

5. It must have been an Ordinary Day

It must have been an Ordinary Day
And you might just say
It is always good to get
The smell of coffee waking up late
We got no need to argue
We can always bury the hatchet
And sing songs true
To the faithful departed,
It must have been an ordinary day
And you might just say
It is always good to get the hair cut
Making it pixie kind, buzzed, smart,
We got no need to please us
We can always sing a song
And make it quite melodious
Just to make our days wait for you long.

( * written by poet as a tribute to Dolores O’ Riordan of Cranberries. ‘ Ordinary Day’ is her  first single.)

 

 

Moinak Dutta, born on 5th September, 1977 to an immigrant family, he has been writing poems and stories from school days.Done postgraduation in English. Presently engaged as a teacher of English.Many of his poems and stories are published in national and international anthologies and magazines.Written reviews of books and fictions, one on Upanisads can be found at www.blogapenguinindiaclassic.blogspot.com. His debut fiction ‘Pestilence’ was published in 2009. He had signed an agreement with a publishing house in October,2012for the publication of his second english literary fiction ‘Online@Offline’. The fiction had been published in 2014, January by Lifi Publications.His third fiction titled ‘ In search of la radice’ is published in August 2017 by Xpress Publications.
Blogs regularly at www.theboatsong.blogspot.com .Interested in photography, films and music.
email :moinakdutta@yahoo.co.in

Mithlesh Kumar Chaudhari,

On Marriage Table the Funeral Food

Hamlet and his royal pain Nursed by his uncle’s reign.
Devilish Claudius’ incestuous flame Kills King Hamlet in a garden-game.
Uncle’s aim at his brother’s wife Mar his master for incestuous life.
On the marriage table the funeral food Used by Claudius with cunning mood.
Husband’s killer with wife’s consent Moves to arrange new marriage tent.
Philosophical attempts of convince Shows her son her incestuous sins.
A brother’s incest for his brother’s wife Bloody brother takes gentle brother’s life.
Hamlet like an orphan son Burns in sin for retaliation.
The feigned madness in search of guilty Strengthens Hamlet’s revengeful duty.
He arranged fratricide play within play To know the guilty by smooth display.
Trembling tears in guilty eyes Culprits like sound, sink and rise.
Claudius’ sealed heinous order Fails to reach Hamlet’s border.
Hamlet’s life in Claudius’ mind Robs the peace of Claudius’ mind.
Mother of Hamlet namely Gertrude Keeps heinous heart, wickedly rude.
The poisoned cup intended for son Poisoned Gertrude as a serious fun.

The Delicate Land
I drowned my heart in her love Who made my heart like desert land; Closing door of my beloved’s love Trembled my whole heartland.
My heart swims in the river of love Like a veteran swimmer in her eyes; She asked her wishes to race in love And love opened her heart and eyes.
My travelling reveries in her love Spoke to the heart again to remain; Deeply drowned heart sighed in love ‘Oh! I swim no more in stormy rain!’
My drowned heart with floating feelings thinks besides the delicate land May these hearts in the country of love enjoy true love with folded hand!

Do My Heart You Like No More!
Kill me, hate me, I am ready, Loving I cannot stop my lady.
Cupid like I worship thee.
Can mortality of thy loathing Discourage my Love in solitude?
My heart that runs blood for me From thy mercy it runs whole night.
I am too badly torn. My heart alone sighs forlorn!
Do my heart you like no more!
Tell me: How I sink in thee?
Now I must not travel more. Keep my heart without a door.
My heart for thee weeps and roars.
O Heart! You pine for a spoonful pleasure. O! Ungracious heart! Suffer for treasure.
Let me remove The blinkers of forgetfulness.
Has ever Love buried a lively heart?
Forgiving is the marvellous sign of love Like sunlight it sharpens the winter-labour.
Don’t measure my love in cups of time. Let us drink together Love in the cups of lips for heavenly joy.
Our hearts may travel more than us In search of love without sunlight.
Let us feel together in silence The presence of Love from eye to eye and heart to heart.

 

Dr. Mithlesh Kumar Chaudhari, (Ph.D. & N.E.T.), is working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, G.L.A. University, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, INDIA. He has several years of research and teaching experience. He is currently teaching the courses on communication skills and soft skills in the university, and has published several articles on Indian English drama and Third Gender. These two poems are taken from the first unpublished volume entitled The Brainchild and Other Poems that contains fifty four poems. Many poems have already been published in Peer Reviewed International journals.
Email ID: mithleshchaudhari@gmail.com

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

When You Buy Their Sorrow

Icy winds filled with chimney smoke
Signaled the burning of Christmas block,
When colorful lights all around gleam
The holy monks sing the merry theme,
Sacred lilies, decorative ivory, fill homes
Town to town our joyful echo roams,
Perch like a bird around the tree to sing
Listen to chorus, sweet jingle bells bring,
Meet the beloved ones you missed daily
Hug the foes; don’t let slip away easily,
Rich and poor at the same table
Do the labor but make it a fable,
Let care go some hidden place
Let love take its due space,
Drink and drown all the worry
No one seems alone or in hurry,
Once you have the Christ sign in thy heart
Feeling His grace makes you Gilbert,
The God loves all in their true form
Shun the bad habits in His charm,
Time to wish all a prosperous morrow
It’s Merry Christmas when you buy their sorrow.

 

That Nice Elderly Year
That nice elderly year
Lying on his death bed,
A fellow of our previous path
A willing caller to everyone’ longing;
His days were once lustrous
Evening, a rosy blonde,
When his hope was high
He weaved fanciful visual nights;
How he lavished his liberal hand
All the treasures in his possess?
I find his tiny traces in Apollo
Or vanishing lunar light,
As I have all praise, less to blame;
I thank God for past every moment
Love you for thy timely prick,
It’s all my choice
If I were a failure;
Now I can shun my greed and strife
As thou taught me a restful sleep,
To wake up for New Year morn
Sound in judgments,
Devoid of wasteful desire

A Cold Call
In snowy unpigmented drape
Wintry withdrawn world waits
For the warm kiss of the day;
Through the long lonely valley
The elevation blows the glacial gale
To cheer the deep and solemn solitude;
Over the bare upland, a pious sunbeam plays
When the heartless west extends its blast;
But the stormy north sings sleet,
All the field lay bound beneath
A crispy integument of snow,
It withers all in silence to expose the earth
And show its susceptible skeleton life;
I walk to crash crunch beneath my feet
See a dancing darkness in vivid blue,
In an ecstasy the earth drink
The silver lukewarm sunlight;
The beast or bird in their covert rest,
These leafless trees resemble my fate,
A lonely robin with its burning breast
Sits in subtle sweetness of the sun;
How ruby banner of poppies spread
Where the lilies fell asleep but
The rose’s hearts are beating still;
When the fresh sap of earth
Finesse the flaxen flowers;
The snowflakes swarmed in the yard
To beat the feeble window panel,
When, I step in warm chamber,
I wonder how like me
The grief worn threshold stone was?
Distorted and shivering shadows
Upon the dim lighted ceiling;
The colorless clusters of lackluster stars
Ornaments the night bride,
The lenient liquid moon
Slides through bare black branch;
A chamber corner draft swept the night stand;
The cruciform contour of winged craving
Took a fleety flash flight,
I swear to keep every sweet promise
Under a warm furry blanket
Of seed prospect,
God pity all those homeless souls.

Sandeep Kumar Mishra is a writer, poet, and lecturer in English Literature. He is the art instructor at Kishlaya Outsider Art Academy. He has edited a collection of poems by various poets – Pearls (2002) and written a professional guidebook -How to be (2016) and a collection of poems and art-Feel My Heart(2016)

http://www.sandeepkumarmishra.com/